Three Signs You’re Not Ready for Big Data

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    Top Predictions for Big Data in 2014

    Are you really ready to move on Big Data?

    Author and speaker Phil Simon doesn’t think so. He’s not talking about you specifically (or at least, not necessarily), of course, but he does doubt the rash of recent surveys and reports claiming that most organizations are deploying Big Data right now.

    He has his reasons for disagreeing, but I’ll let you read that. What I think has more value in this piece is his assessment about which organizations are NOT ready to leverage Big Data. It makes a nice checklist.

    I’m paraphrasing liberally here, but Simon contends that you aren’t ready for Big Data if your organization:

    • Stinks at managing small amounts of structured data.
    • Makes decisions like Henry VIII, based on politics, traditions or policies du jour or whatever works for you right now.
    • Refuses to share data and has multiple “versions of the truth” in organizational data as a result, as reader Bob Drake adds in the comments.

    “If you squirm when reading this, don’t embark on the big-data voyage until your company has learned to manage small data well, has committed to basing its decisions on real information, and is agile and tolerant of risk-taking,” Simon advises.

    So which organizations are ready to venture into the uncharted land of Big Data?

    Honestly, if you’re one of them, my guess is that you know because you already have identified a Big Data problem. But, in case you’re feeling ambivalent, Simon says companies that have achieved Big Data maturity followed these steps:

    • Accepted that Big Data is an enterprise-wide commitment.
    • Built up their internal data repositories, on purpose.
    • Invested in new tools.
    • Holistically think about Big Data’s ROI, which means considering the costs of inaction rather than only the ROI for Big Data technology investments.

    Simon based these steps on a Big Data maturity model by EMC’s Bill Schmarzo, but several models are out there. If you’d like more specific guidance, I suggest TDWI’s free assessment tool. If you’re not ready for Big Data, you might want to check out “The Four Forms of Discovery,” by Lindy Ryan, the research director at Radiant Advisors’ Data Discovery and Visualization practice. It looks at how organizations can evolve with data, but the focus is more on a tools perspective.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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